Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Visit by YB Baru Bian and YB Ali Biju to Danau Milikin for dialog with the villagers. Palm Oil Company holding PL over their NCR land is charging 'toll fees' to villagers passing through the estate. 27th July 2012

L to R. Ibi, Baru Bian (YB), N. Mujah, Ali Biju (YB), N. Bawin, Jugah and Eddy

 Sacrificing the Cockerel During the 'Miring' ceremony

 Traditional welcome for YB Baru Bian, YB Ali Biju and entourage.

YB Ali Biju

 L to R N. Bawin, Ali Biju (YB), N. Mujah, Baru Bian (YB), Eddy, Ibi, Cecilia.

 YB Baru Bian Addressing the crowd

 YB Ali Biju

 Sdra Nickles Bawin

Part of the attentive crowd 

part of the crowd (middle section) 

The letter issued by the Palm Oil company to the villagers. Villagers are being charged 'toll fees' of  RM5 (motorcycle), RM30 (salon Car) and RM50 (Hilux) for passing thru' Palm Oil estate. 

 Hard core supporters.

The village entrance

Monday, July 30, 2012

Uma Jawe residents ready to swap ‘jelatongs’ for longhouse

Posted on July 30, 2012, Monday

FLOATING CHURCH: The floating SIB church at Uma Jawe in a dilapidated state.
BAKUN: The 30 odd families of Uma Jawe, who are currently living in jelatongs (floating houses), have identified a site to build a new longhouse, revealed its village chief Janting Ibau.

He claimed they had obtained permission from the relevant authorities to do so.
“We would like to settle down for good as jelatongs are a temporary measure after our longhouses were submerged when the Bakun hydroelectric power (HEP) dam was impounded on October 13, 2010,” Janting told The Borneo Post at Uma Jawe, about four hours’ boat ride from here, on Friday.

He revealed that although most of the people from his village were relocated to Sg Asap Resettlement Scheme, some villagers preferred to stay behind.

“As they cannot be forced to leave their ancestral homes, they instead built jelatongs and stayed put.”

However, he said after almost two years of staying afloat, they wanted to have permanent houses so that they don’t have to constantly spend time and money to repair their jelatongs.
“Now many people from Sg Asap want to come back as this land is recognised as our NCR land.”

Janting also revealed that living on jelatongs was not something they were proud of as there were a lot of issues tied to it, such as sanitation, school, healthcare and pollution to the environment.

“I must admit that living in a jelatong is not a healthy lifestyle. But what can we do? We now hope that the relevant authorities will assist us in rebuilding our longhouse so that we can settle here permanently.”

Janting revealed that another key reason for his people to come back and to rebuild their longhouses was because of culture shock at Sg Asap.

“Living in Sg Asap is very expensive because we have to buy almost everything. Over here, we can fish and hunt and gather jungle produce easily. Life is definitely cheaper here compared to at Sg Asap, except that it’s too far away from amenities such as school and clinic.”

Janting disclosed that while his two sons were staying in his longhouse in Sg Asap, he and his wife were tilling the land behind their jelatong.

“We will plant paddy this year and we will open up more land to plant fruit trees and rubber trees as well. In the long run, we would be better off again.”

Meanwhile, Wilson Ugak promised the people there that their church, which was floated with oil drums and floating trees after the impoundment of the dam, would be rebuild.
Most of the people of Uma Jawe are Christians of the Borneo Evangelical Church (SIB) denomination.

~ The Borneo Post

Malaysia most vulnerable to economic ‘perfect storm’, says Dr Doom’s consultancy

By Lee Wei Lian
July 30, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 — Malaysia is one of the most vulnerable Asian economies should a “perfect storm” of a disorderly debt default in Europe, a slowdown in China and the US, and rising tensions in the Middle East materialise, Roubini Global Economics (RGE) has said in a recent report.
The strategic research firm, best known for its founder “Dr Doom” Nouriel Roubini who predicted the collapse of the US housing market and the 2008 global financial crisis, said that Malaysia had the highest exposure to a pullout of capital as its eurozone and US bank claims amount to more than 25 per cent of GDP.
File photo of people buying fruit at a market in Kuala Lumpur. A consultancy said the Malaysian economy was very vulnerable and exposed to global forces. —Reuters pic
RGE added that Malaysia was the second most exposed in terms of a demand slowdown in the US, the eurozone and China, making it the most exposed Asian economy overall.
The report also said that the country was among the lowest ranked in terms of monetary and fiscal capacity to respond to a crisis, coming in ahead of only Thailand, Japan and Indonesia.
“Malaysia, Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam appear to be the most exposed to a perfect storm through their trade and financial linkages, while South Korea, Australia, Vietnam and the Philippines appear to have the most policy space to offset such an external shock,” said RGE.
“Taking these two factors together, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand are the most vulnerable of the 10 economies considered in this analysis, while Australia, India, South Korea and the Philippines are the least.”
RGE said that while Malaysian government revenues have increased, the hole in its finances could grow due to “populist” spending and an expected cut in Petronas’ dividends.
“In the run-up to elections, the government is likely to offer more cash handouts in the 2013 Budget, leaving fewer resources for productive investment,” said the report.
“We see the debt-to-GDP ratio reaching 54.6 per cent next year, leaving little room to manoeuvre in the event of an external shock.”
RGE noted that in its most recent effort to boost its popularity ahead of an upcoming general election, the Malaysian government announced a supplementary budget of RM13.8 billion in June, some 80 per cent of which is allocated towards maintaining oil subsidies and raising civil servant wages.
It added that it expects Bank Negara to cut interest rates to 2.5 per cent by the end of 2013 to deal with slowing growth in Europe and China.
Economists and analysts had earlier said that Malaysia’s federal government debt, which nearly doubled since 2007 to RM421 billion, pose a fiscal risk to the country if not managed carefully as it impairs the country’s resilience to the increasing frequency of economic shocks.
They said that while government debt — currently at about 54 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), and the second highest in Asia — has not significantly impacted the country and its credit standing so far, the volatile nature of global markets may cause sentiment to turn with little warning.
Figures from the Federal Treasury’s Economic Reports show that the federal government’s domestic debt almost doubled in the space of less than five years — from RM247 billion in 2007 to an estimated RM421 billion in 2011 — far outpacing its revenues which only grew 31 per cent or from RM140 billion to RM183 billion during the same period.
Government-backed loans rose rapidly as well between 1985 and 2010 — from RM11 billion to RM96 billion — representing a growth of 8.7 per cent per annum.
Investors in recent weeks have reportedly shown a preference for US and Singapore assets rather than Malaysia’s in times of uncertainty despite the 10-year MGS (Malaysian Government Securities) offering a yield of about 3.4 per cent compared to less than 1.5 per cent for both 10-year Singapore government bond and 10-year US Treasury bonds.
Roubini had in May reportedly predicted that four elements — economic slowdown in the US, the debt crisis in Europe, a slowdown in China and emerging markets, and military conflict in Iran — would combine to create a storm for the global economy in 2013.
~ The Malaysian Insider 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bersih slams EC's booklet as superficial, repeats resignation call

Jul 27: Electoral reforms coalition Bersih 2.0 has described as "superficial" the Election Commission's move to publish a booklet explaining its stand on the electoral roll saying the body should focus on the urgent task of cleaning up the electoral process.

"We maintain that the efforts of the EC in cleaning up the electoral roll, if any, are superficial and have failed to comprehensively address the irregularities and fraud that plague the electoral roll.

"Instances of electoral fraud are dismissed as clerical errors and one-off mistakes. In its latest booklet, the EC continues to portray itself as powerless to address the concerns raised by BERSIH 2.0 and other electoral reform groups," said the coalition in response to EC's latest publication titled “Electoral Roll: Issues and Clarifications”.

The Commission announced that 10,000 copies of the bilingual book would be distributed to government departments, political parties, non-governmental organisations and the media.

Bersih however said EC had continued to dodge the issue of 3.1 million dubious voters.

"The issue of contention is not where voters can vote but rather, why is it that when voters upgrade from old ICs to new ICs, their voting constituencies change as well, especially when they have never lived in those constituencies before," it said.

It also pointed out the instances of large number of voters registered under single addresses as well as incomplete addresses bearing only street names.

The coalition said it was EC's responsibility and not the public to regularly check the electoral roll to purge it of suspicious entries or dead voters.

"After all, the EC has access to information on where these voters are supposedly residing. It would not be too troublesome to send out EC teams to track down voters who are above a certain age," it added.

Similarly, Bersih said EC should play a proactive role in solving the problem of MyKad numbers with mismatched genders, which could be most likely due to ICs in Sabah "being transferred from one voter to another, sometimes of different genders".

"A thorough investigation into these cases will show if these mistakes were a result of the EC’s own data entry errors or if they originated from the NRD’s own database," said Bersih.

The coalition also cited a finding by Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project that spouses of regular police force have been registered as postal voters, although this category of voters is reserved for spouses of the General Operations Force (GOF), as well as retired policemen and soldiers still being grouped as postal voters.

It also questioned the logic behind registering these spouses when they are located in urban areas, saying such voters could cast their votes as regular voters in a nearby polling station.

The failure of the EC to address these concerns, said Bersih, only justified the call for the resignation of members of the Commission.

"Bersih 2.0 reiterates its call for their immediate resignation as they have failed to meet the rakyat’s call for clean and fair elections," it added.

~ Harakahdaily

Economists favour slashing car prices

Posted on 29 July 2012 - 09:21pm
PETALING JAYA (July 29, 2012): The government cannot continue protecting the local automotive industry through excise duties at the risk of jeopardising the national economy, say economists.
Prominent economist Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said while there were reasons to help the local car industry in its infancy, it must be asked why car excise duties are still in effect.
"Local carmakers should become self-reliant and competitive, but because of this prolonged protection, they have become weak and dependent on this to be successful," he told theSuntoday.
Navaratnam was commenting on the statement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamad Yakcop on Saturday that the reduction of car excise duties and prices would result in economic instability and increase in bankruptcy cases.
"This is a delicate matter that calls not for ad-hoc solutions or quick fixes, but rather comprehensive studies and professionalism.
"If not handled properly, it will have long-term implications on the global innovative and competitive position of the local car industry, and on the economy as a whole," Navaratnam said.
Nor Mohamad, who heads the Economic Planning Unit, made the statement following PKR strategist Rafizi Ramli's promise that car excise duty would be reduced if the opposition won the 13th general election.
Malaysians currently pay between 75% and 105% in excise duties for motor vehicles manufactured in the country, excluding import duties (for imported cars) and sales taxes. Nor Mohamad said the government collects around RM7 billion annually from these excise duties.
Nevertheless, the chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, said removing excise duties would not negatively affect the nation's economy as a whole, but rather reduce the government's income.
"I doubt such a move would jeopardise the national economy, and removing or reducing car excise duties is a good idea, both politically and economically.
"These excise duties seem to portray that the government is more willing to protect the interests of a company, such as Proton and Perodua, at the expense of the consumer," he said when contacted today.
Wan Saiful added this showed it was dangerous for a government to be involved in the setting up of businesses, as it would then be obliged to protect the businesses' interests.
"This would stunt economic growth as the economic environment would not be a competitive one," he said.
However, Wan Saiful said excise duties should not be removed overnight, but over time, or there may be repercussions, especially on the second-hand car market.
~ The Sun Daily

Voters with incomplete addresses in the electoral roll can still vote

Posted on 29 July 2012 - 08:03pm
PETALING JAYA (July 29, 2012): The Election Commission (EC) said voters with incomplete addresses registered in the electoral roll will not be denied their vote in the next general election.
In a phone interview with theSun today, EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the voters can still return to their polling stations as stated in their MyKad.
However, he said it was important for voters to update their actual residential addresses with the National Registration Department (NRD) and also inform the EC.
Abdul Aziz said this will both allow the EC to verify the authenticity of the information provided to them, and all the information vetted will be gazetted in November through the Attorney-General's Chambers.
"Only those voters gazetted as electors by the EC in the electoral roll will be allowed to vote during the election," he said.
Additionally, he said the EC will reject the voters' application if the information provided to them is incomplete.
He added suspicious voters can also be checked by the EC once the complete addresses are provided to them.
On the number of voters which have not provided the EC with their complete addresses, he said it was difficult to determine because before July 2002, there were insufficient facilities and all registrations was done manually together with NRD.
"It was only after that, we placed a condition under EC's regulation under the registration of voters that they can only vote following their addresses as stated in their ICs," he said.
He was responding to EC's latest publication titled "The Electoral Roll: Issues and Clarifications", which showed applicants which completed the voter registration application forms as well as relatives and others who helped to complete the forms did not provide the applicants' complete address, especially those registered prior to July 2002.
He added although the EC does not inform voters regarding their applications, voters can check through the EC's website or inquire directly to their officers based at the EC's headquarters.
The EC has appointed more than 10,000 registrar assistance nationwide to assist them to resolve the matter, and voters can obtain application forms at post offices, government and political parties' offices, he said.
He also urged those who have yet to register as voters to update their addresses as soon as possible with NRD.
~ The Sun Daily

Klang Valley conquered by foreigners: study

Posted on 29 July 2012 - 08:08pm
KUALA LUMPUR (July 29, 2012): At least 30 locations in the Klang Valley, including residential areas and commercial centres, are 'conquered' by foreigners, according to studies conducted by the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).
Some of these places are so highly populated by foreigners that they are known as Cambodian village, Achehnese village, Myanmar market, mini Jakarta or African condominium compared to their original names.
The faces of Indonesians, Bangladeshis, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Myanmars, Nepalese, Chinese and Africans are becoming more familiar in restaurants, shopping centres, factories and ports, Berita Harian said in an exclusive report today.
In some localities, it said, foreigners outnumbered the locals, making it look like they were being conquered by the outsiders who also monopolised business premises such as grocery stores, markets, food outlets and barber shops.
According to statistics, out of 6 million people in the Klang Valley, 222,843 are registered foreigners residing in Kuala Lumpur, 577,427 are illegal immigrants registered under the Home Ministry's 6P Programme and 438,425 are illegal immigrants yet to be registered.
Berita Harian's survey in areas conquered by foreigners around Sungai Buloh, Selayang, Puchong and Kajang showed that locals tend to feel uneasy with the increasing presence of foreigners in their neighbourhood.
"Most Malaysians claimed that the rising number of foreigners in their village, condominium, apartment or housing estates resulted in many locals leaving the vicinity as they could not stand the attitude or disturbances they (the foreigners) created," the paper said.
Quoting IIUM Sociology and Anthropology Department lecturer Prof Dr Fatimah Daud, the daily said various factors have made it easier for foreigners to pick an area and turn it into 'their own' or to start a business.
Based on studies done over 10 years, she said the foreigners prefer to settle in areas where they have relatives or friends and also places with plenty of job opportunities.
~ The Sun Daily